American citizen rescued in U.S. military op after being abducted in Niger

Jami Ganz, New York Daily News
·1 min read

An American citizen has been rescued in a U.S. military operation after being abducted in Niger.

Philipe Nathan Walton was abducted early Tuesday from his Massalata farm in the African country’s southern region, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

“This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S. military personnel were injured during the operation,” the Defense Department told the outlet in a statement, confirming the operation, which occurred in neighboring northern Nigeria.

Though the armed kidnappers demanded a ransom from Walton’s father, a U.S. official told the outlet Saturday that there hadn’t been concrete indications the abduction was linked to terrorism, despite an increase in attacks by extremists in the country.

The incident, which occurred two months after militants connected to the Islamic State killed six French aid workers as well as their Niger guide, was “trending toward a kidnapping for ransom,” according to the official.

The American government had worried that Walton’s abduction could turn into a prolonged hostage or that he might be passed to another terrorist group, the official said, noting Walton is back in Niger and no ransom had been paid.

With News Wire Services

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